Middlesex Middle School student diagnosed with salmonella

The salmonella bacteria –  courtesy CDC.

A Middlesex Middle School sixth grader has been diagnosed with salmonella, said Alicia Casucci, director of nursing services of the Darien School District, in a letter on Wednesday. She added that the school was informed about the confirmed case by the Darien Health Department.

“There have also been several students who have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort over the past week. While the status of these cases has not been confirmed, we would like to provide you with all information available at this time,” the letter said. 

The Center for Diesease Control estimates salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. Food is the source for about 1 million of these illnesses. Children are at the highest risk for salmonella infection.

  • Most persons infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment.
  • However, in some persons, the symptoms may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

Salmonella can be transmitted by  food and water or by direct animal contact. It is rarely transmitted from person-to-person, according to the CDC.

Somers said the school is working “closely with the Director of Health, David Knauf, MPH, MS, RS, and Public Health Nurse, Paula Sutliffe, MA, RN-BC, CHC, for the Town of Darien.”

“If you should have any questions or concerns regarding salmonella and your child, please feel free to contact the Darien Health Department or me” she said.

Dr. Elliott Landon told The Darien Times the district has no reason to believe the salmonella was related to Middlesex Middle School or the student was infected at school.  He also said he was unaware of any specific inspections planned on the Middlesex cafeteria but said the school consistently peforms highly in its regular cafeteria inspections by the Dept. of Health. However, both he and Somers said if they learned otherwise they would update the community as to the cause.

Darien Department of Health Director David Knauf said staff will be inspecting the school cafeteria, and working with the school director of nursing, the State Health Department, and tracking reports of illness. He added that the illness appears to be related to a sixth grade field trip.

For more information on the salmonella incident, contact Casucci at 203-655-3981, Ext. 2304.